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F-35A Lightning II

Academy 1/72 F-35A Lightning II Quick Build Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2013 Manufacturer Academy
Subject F-35A Lightning II Scale 1/72
Kit Number 12507 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Very easy build Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $39.00


For a look at this kit as it appears out of the box, check out our Academy 1/72 F-35A Lightning II first-look here.

The Build

As always, I'm building this kit straight out of the box with no aftermarket parts and assembling it using Tamiya Extra Thin Cement. No fillers or painting will happen so you can see the results without any cover-ups. I also used my trusty Xuron sprue cutters but this time I also made use of a micro-chisel as I will explain.

Step one is the installation of the weapons bays and main wheel wells into the lower fuselage half. Note how nice the pre-colored plastic looks here as this will be very similar in paint.

F-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning II

Step two installs the forward fuselage inserts and intake ducts. The fit is very nice though your experience will be dependent upon how careful you are removing sprue tree stubs, ejector pin flash, and anything else that might affect parts fit.

F-35A Lightning II

Next we assemble the cockpit tub and Martin Baker ejection seat. The completed assembly is then mounted to the top of the nosewheel well.

F-35A Lightning II

The cockpit/nosewheel well assembly installs into the lower fuselage, the upper fuselage half goes on, and then the landing gear. Okay, these were two steps, but the kit is now on its gear!

F-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning II

In the final stretch, you'll note that the nice approach Academy has taken to minimize the traditional damage that sprue tree attachments have on parts has created an interesting challenge. The stubs are now in areas normally out of sight after assembly but sometimes getting to these stubs without doing collateral damage could be a problem. This is where the micro-chisel came in handy. With the chisel, I could remove the sprue stubs from the inside edges of the gear doors and against the afterburner nozzle ring without any problems.

F-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning IIF-35A Lightning II

Overall this is a very nice model. The RAM patterns on the surface are not over-exaggerated and the fit is very nice. I was especially impressed with the way the vertical and horizontal stabs were molded hollow instead of in halves making the fit on the fuselage nearly perfect. I opted not to use the external pylons and weapons included in this kit so see how well the weapons bays doors close and otherwise show off the basics of the model. This model is as close to one of those kits where you pour the glue into the box, shake, and the model assembles itself. The engineering is nice and the results speak for themselves.

Definitely recommended!

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!